Stack of face masks
Credit: Laura Hayes

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While the number of reported COVID-19 cases in D.C. continues to fall after reaching an all-time high in early January, the pandemic remains a constant source of worry here in the District. As a result, Mayor Muriel Bowser yesterday announced the extension of two mitigation measures she introduced late last year.

The indoor mask mandate, originally scheduled to expire at the end of January, will now expire Feb. 28. That means all individuals must cover their faces at schools, houses of worship, libraries, recreation centers, on public transit and in hired vehicles, and pretty much any other public space where one might encounter another person. In other words, keep an N95 handy. Montgomery County residents can pick up free masks at local libraries, while D.C. and Virginia residents may have to wait to pick up government-supplied masks at pharmacies and grocery stores.

The limited public health emergency will also remain in place until Feb. 15. It allows medical facilities to adjust administrative procedures as necessary to accommodate the increased demand on services and equipment due to the most recent COVID-19 surge. While this public health emergency is eligible for extension until March 17, Bowser’s recent order states “the falling rates of infection indicate that the public health emergency need not be extended that far into the future at this time.” Oh, let us hope that’s actually the case.

Washingtonians in need of COVID tests, vaccines, or boosters now have a new place to check out. As of this morning, a new COVID Center will operate inside the Peoples Congregational United Church of Christ on 13th Street NW in Ward 4. This is the seventh COVID Center D.C. has opened, and an eighth will open in Ward 3 soon. Find hours and locations of all seven operating centers on the District’s coronavirus website.

Bowser will provide more COVID information (and perhaps discuss her reasoning behind deploying the snow team more than 48 hours before a predicted weekend storm) during a situational update that started at 11 a.m. 

Caroline Jones (tips? cjones@washingtoncitypaper.com)

  • To see today’s COVID-19 data, visit our coronavirus tracker.
  • One person is critically injured, four others have non-life-threatening injuries after a shooting last night at a Days Inn in Northwest D.C. [WUSA9]
  • Police arrested a man suspected of killing Sierra Johnson, a pregnant woman who was shot in a car in front of her children. [NBC4
  • President Joe Biden could fulfill his vow to nominate a Black woman to the U.S. Supreme Court. D.C. native and U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson is among the potential nominees. [Washingtonian]

By Ambar Castillo (tips? acastillo@washingtoncitypaper.com)

Credit: Darrow Montgomery

HUD Will Begin Extensive Review of DCHA in February

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development will begin a weeklong, on-site assessment of […]

  • As the fight over a proposed $309 million contract to replace District street lights ramps up, Council Chairman Phil Mendelson calls the deal “bullshit.” [DCist]
  • The Council’s recent vote to extend TOPA deadlines again, giving tenants the chance to negotiate with potential buyers of their buildings, has major landlords howling. [Bisnow]

By Alex Koma (tips? akoma@washingtoncitypaper.com)

  • Try affordable, Asian-inspired pastas from Chef Paolo Dungca at Piccoletto. [Washingtonian]
  • A map of D.C.’s essential Vietnamese restaurants. [DC Eater]
  • Where to find the best dumplings in the District, according to local chefs. [Thrillist]

By Laura Hayes (tips? lhayes@washingtoncitypaper.com)

Credit: Courtesy City Winery DC

City Lights: Silvana Estrada Takes Mexican Folk Music to New Heights

The Spanish word for withered is marchita […]

  • Duke Ellington School of the Arts is once again making headlines, this time for reports of sexual abuse committed by a longtime teacher and for not keeping personnel files or human resources records on its teachers prior to 2017. [NBC Washington]
  • Joseph “Joe” Gorham, beloved broadcaster of Howard’s WHUR radio, died this past weekend while traveling. He was 69. [Informer]
  • Dr. Anthony Fauci, José Andrés, and Marian Wright Edelman are the local recipients of the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery’s 2022 Portrait of a Nation Award. [Washingtonian]

By Sarah Marloff (tips? smarloff@washingtoncitypaper.com)

Credit: Sammi Silber

Nicklas Bäckström Is Starting to Find His Rhythm With the Capitals

After the Washington Capitals beat the Ottawa Senators in overtime Saturday at Capital One Arena, […]

  • Danielle Collins, a two-time NCAA women’s tennis singles champion while playing for the University of Virginia, has advanced to the Australian Open final against world No. 1 Ashleigh Barty. [FanNation]
  • MLB and the MLB Players Association have resumed negotiations this week as spring training nears. [CNBC]

By Kelyn Soong (tips? ksoong@washingtoncitypaper.com)

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